Wild Hyacinth
Triteleia grandiflora Lindl.
Family: Liliaceae, Lily
Genus: Triteleia
Synonyms: Brodiaea douglasii
Other names: gophernuts
Nomenclature: grandiflora = large flowered
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Edible plant
No medicinal data

General: perennial, stems 20-60 cm tall, from deep, scaly, bulbous stem bases (corms) about 2 cm thick.

Leaves: basal, linear, 1-2, flat but keeled beneath, 3-10 mm broad, mostly 25-50 cm long, not withered at flowering time.

Flowers: several in a usually rather open umbel, the flower stalks 1-5 cm long. Tepals deep to light blue, partly joined to a 9-12 mm long tube, narrowly bell-shaped, the 6 lobes equalling or longer than the tube, with darker midvein, the inner ones strongly wavy-edged, erect for 2-3 mm, then apparently contracted (not so actually) and ruffled at the point of flare, the ruffle largely closing the orifice of the tube. Fertile stamens 6, unequally inserted, the filaments very short. Anthers blue, 2-3 mm long. Style 2-3 mm long, the ovary 6-grooved. Stipe 3-5 mm long, about half as long as the capsule. May-July.

Fruits: rounded capsules, 6-10 mm long.


Grasslands and sagebrush desert to ponderosa pine woodland, in w. and s.c. parts of MT. Also from s. B.C. southward, to s.e. OR, ID, w. WY, and n. UT.
Edible Uses

The bulb of wild hyacinth is edible, raw or cooked. Having a sweet nut-like flavor, they can be used like potatoes. They are said by some people to be the tastiest of the North American edible bulbs, and are at their best when slow roasted for an hour when they become rather sweet. They were collected for food or medicine by the Thompson tribes among others. They were dug in the spring, along with the bulbs of yellowbells, just before the shoots appeared above ground. The young seedpods can be cooked as a potherb, and is an excellent green.

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